"Both the advantage and the privilege of an artist is that he is forced to look. To see. People rarely see the beauty and the greatness around them. They live their lives in half sleep.
"The factor of attention is never given enough weight in painting or in other aspects of human activity. With attention the artist is able to go deeper into the potentialities of the subject. Attention, well developed, equips him with the capacity to be open to what would ordinarily escape him. The technique of painting, complicated and difficult as it is, can be learned by man. But the average attention span is too short, and attention is easily diverted; the ability to 'see' is rarely deep enough.
"With sustained attention, one grasps relationships which usually are overlooked. So how to nurture an attention which penetrates into the heart of things? It's an interesting subject, to speculate that with attention. Whole new worlds reveal themselves. The Chinese and Japanese artists have understood for a long time the importance of being 'still,' of gathering their energies for a few moments before beginning.
"Instead of a headlong rush, which is fine for a while, one has to step back. This stepping back is difficult, especially when one is on a roll. In painting, as in other pursuits, when all is going well one wants to keep going... That's fine, but sometimes a pause, stop, stepping back and looking brings the unexpected.
"Moments of stillness align one's forces. When man's energies are together in balance, more is possible than when they are random, dis-equilibrated. Heart and feeling are needed as well as the intellect. Concentration, attention is the key in any endeavor, whether building a brick wall, working with a computer program or painting a picture.
"The artist is fortunate in that he can find and give meaning to the humblest encounter. No subject is too small, too insignificant, to receive his attention and care. In the sense that behind appearances there is another reality, the artist may be said to resemble God. To be true he must approach the subject with 'pure-seeing.' Always there is seduction of the mind-gravitation toward the unknown. With inside-seeing we awaken to the beauty and the potentiality of ordinary objects.
"The emergence of light from an area on the canvas always intrigues. The painter cannot evoke this by technique and virtuosity alone. It does not work that way. It is the total absorption of the artist in the work that enables true luminosity to appear.
"There is no nonsense about a still life, a solitary object. You can keep looking at it. It gives you a chance to really be there to find out how deep you can go.
"As one works, order appears out of chaos. It may be difficult at the beginning. As the process itself takes over, there is such an absorption, you forget your mother, your father, your dinner, everything. Here one has to be careful. There are certain moments when it is better to stop, to be mindful of the space on the canvas; not to fill in everything. In leaving some things unsaid, a work of art reaches toward the essence. It was the mystery of the visible and the hidden that drew me to lithography, a medium where economy of means, what is not stated, is of keen importance."